Parts of the new Dunedin Hospital are to be fast tracked and finished three years earlier than expected, the Health Minister said today.
David Clark, Dunedin North MP, said the hospital would now be built in two stages, with the outpatient and day surgery building finishing early and the inpatient building being finished five to six years after.
"Dunedin Hospital will not last the distance in its current state. There is simply too much damage, too much congestion, too many things to work around and no room to do so," he said.
However, National are calling the move hypocritical.
"The Minister’s 'fast track' is actually a managed delay of the entire project and smacks of hypocrisy," said National's health spokesperson Michael Woodhouse.
"The Minister seems to be desperately working to put a spade in the ground in the shortest possible time at the expense of the whole project and its time to completion," Mr Woodhouse said.
"He has indicated that those spades will be in the ground in the second half of 2020, which will likely just happen to coincide with the next general election."
Dr Clark said the hospital does not have adequate capacity for its day surgery and had no room to expand.
"The best way forward is to put a manageable chunk of the new hospital on a much faster track."
The day surgery would be opened in November 2023 and the outpatient part of the building a year later.
The larger outpatient building was expected to open in 2028.
Mr Woodhouse said Dr Clark was "very vocal in Opposition about the rebuild, saying a completion date of 2027 was too slow".
"Now it appears the best case scenario for the completion of the larger inpatient building would be late 2028 and more likely into 2030, which is slower than the time frame the previous National-led Government had laid out.